There are a lot of famous firsts in acting history. Lon Chaney was the first big horror star. Buster Crabb was the first big science fiction star. Bruce Lee was the first Martial Arts star to succeed in America. And now, Andy Serkis is the first actor to become synonymous with a new cinematic art form…Motion Capture acting.
Serkis has appeared in seven films where he performed using motion capture; The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In all these films, he gave excellent, memorable performances. Who can deny that Gollum stole the show in the Lord of the Rings franchise and the first Hobbit film? And Caesar has become the leading man (or leading chimp) of the Planet of the Apes franchise, effectively communicating an array of emotions via the visual technology of motion capture. Aren’t any of these strong performances good enough to be considered for Oscar contention? If Ian McKellen could be nominated for an acting Oscar for the Lord of the Rings films, why couldn’t Serkis, who had an equally memorable role?
Some people may say that he doesn’t deserve an acting Oscar since he wasn’t physically seen on screen. All we saw was a visual effect based on his motions and expressions. However, others might say that this fact makes it even more impressive that he was able to give such powerful performances. How many people could steal a film without actually being seen in person? Serkis is such a good Motion Capture actor that he was recruited to coach Mark Ruffalo in playing the incredible Hulk (also a motion capture creation) in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
So, does the fact that he’s the first motion capture specialist make him more or less deserving for consideration at Oscar time?